Centennial College – A-Building Expansion

Embody the Past. Embrace the Future.


Located on Centennial College Progress Campus in Scarborough, ON, the A-Building Expansion’s design will be like no other.

This campus gateway building will have the potential to become the first net-zero carbon, mass timber, LEED® Gold higher education facility in the province when it is completed in 2023. It will also embody the College’s deep commitment to truth and reconciliation.

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Scarborough, ON
Centennial College

Smoke Architecture
RJC Engineers
Smith + Andersen
Vertechs Design

DIALOG Services

Interior Design

Balance Centrestone

A shield-granite boulder demonstrates the principle of balance and anchors the building. It acknowledges an understanding of nation-to-nation agreements that have governed the land.

Main entrance

The Level 1 entrance provides a clear connection from the eastern side of the site, and is respectful of the Anishinaabe requirement for the main entrance of a building to be from the East.

Wisdom Hall

A cascade of terraces and stairs rising up through the Hall provide a generous, bright, and dynamic setting for students and visitors.

Wisdom Hall

Indigenous artwork on wood paddle-shaped panels, reminiscent of traditional Ojibwe canoe paddles.

Wisdom Hall

An open, double-height space of inspiration and contemplation for students to meet and study in informal groups.

Indigenous Commons

A domed room designed on the principles of the Anishinaabe roundhouse (nimii-idiwigamig) and sweat lodges for ceremonies such as dance and drum circles, smudging, sharing circles, or other activities.

Central courtyard

The Level 2 courtyard offers a connection to the sky with daylight made through a clerestory in the corridor to a light well.

Upper levels

Administrative spaces and areas reside in Levels 4, 5 and 6. A repeated rhythm of polygonal punch windows are inspired by the textural quality of a weave and provides a series of framed site views.

The Team

EllisDon’s mass timber specialists eagerly anticipate working closely with Centennial College and our design partners at DIALOG and Smoke Architecture to create this precedent-setting project.

Geoff Smith. CEO, EllisDon
Forming a gateway

The building completes the truncated corner of the site forming a portal into the campus. An urban edge is created promoting great opportunities for pedestrian connectivity and enhanced public realm. The north and west facade acts as a tool for storytelling, visibly branding the building to represent the aspirations of the institution.


The design of the building is a poetic response to the pattern of seed, growth, culmination, and balance in a continuous cycle. The position of spaces and the flow through the building are guided by the medicine wheel teachings oriented to the four cardinal directions, and the directions of up, down, and centre.


Activities and engagements—both formal and informal—of students, staff, and faculty are displayed to the Campus through a network of interconnected pathways and public spaces.


The interplay of solid and void in the building massing allude to the drawing back of the skins over a wigwam frame in response to seasonal changes.


The pattern wrapping from the East to West on the north face is an allegorical and aspirational response to the underlying structure and Indigenous arts and craft.

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